ACMA issues first blocking orders against offshore lottery websites

| By Robert Fletcher
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued its first blocking orders against offshore lottery websites, after it ruled two sites were operating in the country illegally.
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An ACMA investigation found that both We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto were offering tickets in major overseas online lotteries and were not licensed in Australia.

This, ACMA said, placed both operators in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, and has such requested Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the sites.

“We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto are both operating illegally in Australia, meaning there are no consumer safeguards in place for players,” Authority member Fiona Cameron said

“Blocking illegal offshore sites protects Australians from potentially dodgy operators, where there is little or no recourse if things go wrong. Lottery services that are licensed in Australia and operating legally have important safeguards that consumers expect.”

ACMA began making blocking requests in November 2019 and has blocked more than 325 websites it said were operating in Australia illegally.

This instance marked the first blocking orders for lottery websites. In August the authority also issued its first blocking requests against affiliate gambling advertising websites

The Authority also revealed that during its 2020-21 financial year, it was able to block a total of 55 websites, which it said resulted in a majority of these sies experiencing a decline in Australian visitors of at least 90%.

“We are very pleased with the outcome and it shows that the steps we are taking to combat illegal online gambling in Australia have had a positive impact,” Cameron said.

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